• Kish Island

    Iran’s skyrocketing stock exchange signals historic political shift

    In Iran, this spring brings a historic opportunity for neoliberal opposition parties personified by President Rouhani. The utopian dream will now get its first chance to prove itself as a cash-starved Islamic Republic embarks on its boldest ever embrace of privatization of state-owned companies.

  • Left Think Tank Mystifies Iran-Saudi Tensions

    No one should be surprised when The Economist or another controlled opinion source misrepresents tensions in the Persian Gulf as religious rivalry while overlooking decades of U.S. and Israeli success in stoking them for imperial gain.  The so-called mainstream press typically repeats unsubstantiated charges to pretend that Arab client states of Washington buy tens of […]

  • A University at the Center of Iran’s Internal Power Struggle

    World media are focused so narrowly on Iran’s nuclear program and election-related turmoil and Western threats and sanctions that the public is unaware a battle over ownership of a politically connected Iranian university is likely to help shape the future of the Islamic Republic and its foreign relations.  We hear all about the Revolutionary Guard […]

  • Iran Is Paranoid and Israel Is Not (You’re Kidding, Right?)

    “A country whose political culture is characterized by paranoia.”  What country would that be?  Israel, which has claimed victim status through seven decades of vicious land grab?  The United States, which has devastated Iraq pretending to look for imaginary weapons of mass destruction? No, argues neoconservative Michael Eisenstadt, staff analyst at the pro-Israel Washington Institute […]

  • Notes on Swim Politics in Iran

    A fascinating social history of swimming pools in northern United States that was published in 2007 deserves attention from Iran researchers.  Contested Waters showed how, between the World Wars, middle class expansion/empowerment in general and eroticization/gender de-segregation at public pools popularized swim facilities that excluded African Americans.  Earlier in the century, women, not Blacks, had […]

  • Iran’s Business Elite, Too, Is a “Dissident”

    With mass rallies for government accountability dominating the news from Iran since June 12, Western audiences are missing the underlying controversy that polarizes the country’s electorate.  We hear much about the boastful social conservatism of president Ahmadinejad, whose contested re-election on June 12 fueled days of bloody protests led by his moderate challengers.  But the […]

  • Oil Windfall Sparks Rights Fight in Iran

    From a distance, partisan politics in Iran may appear to turn on international challenges or internal discriminations only.  But a third contentious split that reaches the highest levels is about the size of the government financed largely by oil exports.  At its core, the dispute over whether public sector payroll, subsidies, and social programs deserve […]

  • Bombing for Peace: An Interview with Diana Johnstone

    “O there are times, we must confess To harboring a whim — we Like to picture old Karl Marx Sliding down our chimney” — Susie Day “Help fund the good fight.   By contributing to MR, you help reinforce the left and reclaim the future.” — Richard D. Vogel “To do my part, I just […]

  • Abuse of Iran’s President in New York Fits a Pattern

    Many Iranians, ranging from university presidents in Iran to immigrants here in the United States, feel insulted by the treatment president Ahmadinejad received in New York in September.  This is understandable, coming in the midst of a larger media campaign to demonize Iran, including the newspaper cartoon last month that depicted Iranians as cockroaches crawling […]

  • Pro-Israel Oppressors Cherished at Columbia University

    In the fuss about Iranian president Ahmadinejad’s visit to New York, a finer point was lost.  Columbia University and its current president, Lee Bollinger, have for some time each been a leader in the fields of foreign policy opportunism and service to global oppressors. In 1955, a mere two years after the CIA reinstated the Shah […]

  • U.S. Intentions and Options in Iran: A Response to Stephen Zunes

    In a recent assessment, Stephen Zunes affirms the misconceptions of a segment of the progressive community about Iran’s internal politics, the range of U.S. options in that country, and the frequency with which Western powers invent and/or corrupt civil society movements.  After a review of past American interference, he enumerates and rejects Washington’s hostile choices […]

  • With Defenders Like Nazanin, Who Needs Enemies?Part 2

    According to a promotional flyer handed out at Borders Books stores in advance of Nazanin‘s visits, she is on a mission to “speak out for those who cannot” and stands against “senseless child executions in Iran.”  Nazanin also takes credit for the release of a woman from death row in Iran.  Fair enough.  But Nazanin’s […]

  • With Defenders Like Nazanin, Who Needs Enemies?

    Perhaps you remember when Amnesty International’s journal printed as its lead story a laudatory review that liberal author Margaret Atwood wrote about Reading Lolita in Tehran.  Neither Amnesty nor Atwood nor Jacki Lyden, who promoted the twisted account of life in Iran on National Public Radio, bothered to mention the author’s close ties to warmongers […]

  • Let’s Not Trivialize Discrimination in Iran

    WCP leader Maryam Kousha addresses protesters in London in 2005.  Also pictured is Peter Tatchell. It is a sad day when self-described progressive gay rights defenders risk their credibility to promote the agendas of Middle Eastern fanatics.  Yet that was just the scenario when Doug Ireland and Peter Tatchell broke with several reputable rights groups […]

  • An Israeli Attack Can Shatter the Relative Safety of Iran’s Jews

    One of the neocon myths that has gained currency post-9/11 asserts, referring to opponents of Israel and the United States, that “they are against who we are, not what we do.”  Hence, the argument concludes, there is nothing we can do to diminish their antagonism.  A variant of this fiction is that Iran’s Islamic elite […]

  • Iranian Anti-Censorship Crusader Accepts Censorship at Amnesty International

    At a press conference today, journalist Akbar Ganji had just finished vilifying the “intolerant culture” of non-Europeans when he failed to intervene against Western censorship happening right before his eyes.  He is touring the United States to, in his words, raise awareness about government abuses in Iran, including his six-year imprisonment that ended last March.  […]

  • Iran’s Western Behavior Deserves Criticism

    If imitation is the highest form of flattery, Iran must really adore the American model of state conduct.  Contrary to popular perceptions, the decision-makers in Tehran agree with their nemesis, Akbar Ganji, who recently told the Voice of America that the West was “the cradle of civilization.”  Two recent moves by Iran are especially noteworthy […]

  • What Really Happened in Tehran on June 12?Did Human Rights Watch Get It Wrong?

    Even before Iran was rocked by the mass uprising of 1978-79, I understood that moralists of all stripes shroud certain tragedies with unique reverence as a means of discouraging dissent.  Three decades later, Iran’s opposition movement — and occasionally Human Rights Watch — are grounded in orthodoxies of their own even as they struggles against […]

  • MEK Tricks US Progressives, Gains Legitimacy

    On May 26, 2006, a representative of the violent Iranian fugitives based in Iraq, known as MEK, addressed a forum  — an anti-war forum — sponsored by the liberal Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists in Berkeley, California, as he had done the year before.  Introduced as Ali Mirardal, the speaker lamented human rights abuses in Iran […]

  • Iranian Cold Warriors in Sheep’s Clothing

    Erik C. Nisbet & James Shanahan, “MSRG Special Report: Restrictions on Civil Liberties, Views of Islam, & Muslim Americans,” Media & Society Research Group, Cornell University, December 2004 Actual mass murderers are higher on my watch list than those who just think or shout hateful beliefs.  But you would be mistaken if you thought the […]